Badminton: Prannoy, Sindhu progress to quarters

PV Sindhu

PV Sindhu

Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu will clash with seventh seeded Japanese Nozomi Okuhara in a re-match of the World Championship final, which went down in history as one of the longest and greatest battles, clocking 110 minutes.

Fatigue finally seemed to be catching up with Sindhu in the deciding game as she made a few uncharacteristic unforced errors but her customary grit and resilience kept her going as she led 11-7 at the changeover after a thunderous smash.

Yamaguchi finally had two game point opportunities at 20-18 after Sindhu's forehand sailed out of play and then closed out the game after benefiting from a net chord at 20-19.

In the second game, Sindhu had a three-point advantage at 16-13 but the Japanese hit back and took the lead at 18-16. "I had to control the those errors", Sindhu said after the win. Playing her maiden All England Open semi-final, Sindhu continued from where she had left as she opened the first game with a body smash to earn her first point and soon races to a 6-0 lead.

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However, Sindhu has spent 79 minutes more on the court than Yamaguchi and fatigue can be a cause of concern if Saturday's semi-final goes to three games. She takes 6-5 lead in style.

On her rivalry with Okuhara, she said: "There are good matches every time we play". She leads 18-14 now. In the men's singles action, Chinese Shi Yuqi stunned Rio Games champion and compatriot Chen Long 21-10, 21-17 in 39 minutes. However, Sugiarto gave a tough fight to Prannoy in the second game but the Indian shuttler eventually squeezed out a win.

After comfortably winning the first set, Prannoy failed to capitalize on the same and slumped to a 22-20, 16-21, 21-23 defeat at the hands of China's Yuxiang Huang to knock out of the tournament. However, it was Sindhu's day as she managed to outclass her opponent by a score of 21-18. Yamaguchi makes it 16-17. The Indian leads 19-17 now.

In the decider, Okuhara looked to assert her supremacy early on as she moved to 4-1 lead. Sindhu leads 10-5.

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